Let’s take a look at the very best free tools for YouTubers & how they can help you grow your channel & create better videos.
There’s an old saying that says, to do a job properly you need to use the right tools. This is also true for YouTubers, but this doesn’t mean that you need to have the most expensive tools… or paid tools at all, sometimes free tools can get the job done just as well, if not better.
Before we get to the free tools, let me get something off of my chest.
I hear it far too often… excuses.
- I’m not growing on YouTube because I cannot afford ‘X’.
- I need to hire a graphic designer to get better thumbnails.
- I’m not a video editor or I cannot afford Premiere Pro/Vegas/Final Cut, so I cannot create YouTube videos. Etc.
Simple excuses that don’t make any sense at all. The most popular YouTubers didn’t get to where they are by using the most expensive software or by hiring experts to do the work for them. They learned with what they had & grew their audience with their personality, unique idea, or simply the sheer will and determination to make it.
So, no more excuses.
If you think you’re lacking a piece of equipment, have a look at my budget-friendly YouTube starter kit for the cheapest way of creating high-quality content for your YouTube Channel.
Now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest, there are plenty of free tools for YouTubers to accomplish pretty much whatever you’re looking for.
I’d even recommend these free tools for established YouTubers & people with a higher budget, they’re that good!
Enough talk though, let’s jump straight into the free tools.
I’ve outlined 7 of my favorite free tools & we’re going to take a look at each of them below & just some of the many ways that you can use them to expand your reach, create better content & grow your YouTube channels in 2021.
1. TubeBuddy – Best free tools for YouTube
TubeBuddy is the first on this list because it’s the tool I recommend the most.
This free Chrome, Firefox & Safari browser extension can do so much, you’re handicapping yourself simply by not installing it. It’s also certified by YouTube, so you won’t get into any hot water.
What makes TubeBuddy so great is the SEO functionality.
When uploading your videos, you’ll be given a variety of options to see what you still need to do to upload an optimized YouTube video. You’ll see live character limits, an SEO checklist & even receive suggested tags from TubeBuddy to help your videos rank higher & get more views.
When you’re scrolling through YouTube, you’ll also be able to spy on the competition.
You can see exactly what tags are being used on videos, where the video ranks for the tags, stats for said video & channel plus, if you think the tags will fit your video well, simply press the copy button & paste them into your tag section.
This is just some of the functionality you will receive from the free TubeBuddy extension. There are also additional paid plans starting at $9/month that give you even more options to optimize your YouTube videos & channel. And if you book a yearly plan, you can save 20%.
Find out more about TubeBuddy & download the free extension here.
2. Streamlabs OBS
When it comes to live-streaming, one of the best options is actually free.
It’s called Streamlabs OBS & with it, you’ll be able to start live streaming to YouTube (or Twitch) within a matter of minutes.
The setup is one of the best features of Streamlabs OBS. Once you’ve finished installing the software to your PC, a quick start wizard will guide you through layout and how to make your live-stream more interactive and engage with your viewers.
Set up a chatbot to thank new subscribers & donations on your stream, install great looking themes to make your live-stream pop & be more interactive, plus there’s loads more details and options.
The great thing about Streamlabs OBS is that you can make it as technical as you’d like. You can fine-tune settings if you’re familiar with them, or you can just roll with the quick setup settings and start live streaming, no technical knowledge required. Which is a huge benefit over the regular OBS.
Live streaming is the main function of Streamlabs OBS, but it can be a useful free tool even if you never plan on streaming live. Why? The screen recording function, that’s why.
Record your screen and create videos to upload to YouTube with Streamlabs OBS. You can incorporate your webcam, external audio devices, specific monitors, etc.
It’s really a powerful tool & whether you’re using it for live streaming or just to record your screen, it’s free.
Find out more about Streamlabs OBS here.
In order to create high-quality videos, you’ll most likely need editing software of some kind. iMovie is great for getting started and you can actually create some very engaging content with it, but you’re limited to using Apple devices. So, what is the solution if you’re using Windows?
It’s actually available on Windows, Linux & Mac systems, so you can create high-quality videos regardless of which system you’re using.
Lightworks is a non-linear video editing software. Which pretty much just means you’re going to have to get used to how it works to harness its extensive power & capabilities. Once you’ve gotten over some of the learning curve involved, you’ll be able to create videos that you would only imagine could be made with higher-end editing software like Premiere Pro or Final Cut.
The catch? The free version only allows for exporting in 720p.
If you need HD or 4k, try out HitFilm Express for another free video editing software.
With HitFilm, a benefit is that you only have to pay for additional extensions that you need.
4. Canva – Best free tools for YouTubers
Thumbnails can make or break your videos.
Your thumbnails are after all the first thing that a potential viewer sees. If they’re bad, hardly anyone is going to click through to watch your video.
This is where Canva comes in though, the easiest way to create thumbnails that standout & pop.
Canva is a web-based graphic design software that allows you to create captivating images for free. Not only can you create YouTube thumbnails, but you can also design custom YouTube channel art & even an end screen to show at the end of your videos.
Below is a video that will guide you through the process of creating YouTube thumbnails that grab attention, and once you’re done there, head over to this article that highlights the 5 best practices you should follow when designing your thumbnails.
5. YouTube Creator Studio (and App)
When it comes to free tools for YouTubers you really don’t have to look very far for some of the best. YouTube itself provides a variety of useful tools & resources to help you become a success on the platform.
From the YouTube Creator Academy to the very detailed analytics you can find in your YouTube Creator Studio, you’ll be able to learn a lot about what to do to grow & how your audience reacts by paying attention to what YouTube provides you with.
For example, if it shows that people are leaving a specific video after 4 minutes, you can then go to that video and see what could be causing them to leave. Perhaps you went too far off-topic, the delivery became boring, or you mentioned they should like and subscribe and you hadn’t yet given them a reason to. You can take this learning and then improve your videos for the future.
Another useful tool is the YT Studio app on Android or iOS devices. This mobile app allows you to edit titles, descriptions, tags, etc. without having to log in via your computer. You will also be able to harness some analytics & check your stats whilst on the go or when you wake up.
Warning: checking your real-time views can become addictive. 😉
The best feature of the YT Studio app is the ability to reply to comments easily. You no longer need to head into a video to reply to a comment, you can do it right there on your phone.
Whether the comment was on a video you posted a day ago or a year ago, new comments appear in chronological order so you know exactly what’s happening on your channel and you can engage with your community with ease.
Similar to TubeBuddy, VidIQ allows you to gather statistics and information about your competition and rank higher through the use of SEO.
VidIQ is also a free extension & offers a few useful additional features.
My favorite is the ability to see the subscriber count of people that comment on videos without having to visit their channel. This can be very useful if you’re looking to connect and collaborate with people within your niche.
You’ll also be able to see the like ratios for videos in search results, which can be a useful tool if you’re looking for video ideas, as you can find videos that rank well but have poor ratios, see what people don’t like about them, and then create better or more comprehensive videos.
Find out more about VidIQ here.
7. YouTube Audio Library – Best free tools for YouTubers
I already mentioned how YouTube provides some great free tools to their users, another one of these is the YouTube Audio Library.
It’s pretty self-explanatory… it’s a library of free music which you can use in your videos. 😉
Just remember to pay attention to the attribution as some tracks require you to include a link in your description.
You will also find a variety of different sound effects, which can add some spark to your videos.
P.s. Another great source for free music is the NoCopyrightSounds Channel, you’ll find links to the tracks in their video descriptions and all you need to do to use a track is give them attribution in your video description.
Whilst it may not exactly be a tool, I’ve put together the Ultimate YouTube SEO course… It’s completely free and contains everything you need to know to grow your channel and to rank first on YouTube.
Now that’s 7 of the best free tools for YouTubers (& a free SEO course), that’s a lot more powerful than you would expect. The question now is, what are you waiting for? There’s no better time to start growing your channel than right now.
If you have any YouTube-related questions, leave them in the comments below.